Tennis News Wire -
Legions of groundsmen may be fighting the calendar and yet another British soaking from the temperamental London weather, but Wimbledon officials remain confident that the All England Club will be ready to meet the deadline when the London Olympic tennis events starts a fortnight from this weekend. It has been wet, wet. wet for most of last month and this one in Britain, which is experiencing flooding in some parts. But Wimbledon soldiers on to meet an unprecedented three-week turnaround time from the final of the Grand Slam to the start of the Games event.
The moment courts were out of play last week at Wimbledon, staff swooped down, re-germinating the patchy dirt spots on the baselines with seeds which had been grown under special condition in a mini-hothouse arrangement to accelerate their maturation.
The replanting has been going full-tilt, with staff now waiting for the results to sprout and fill in the brown gaps on the lawns.
Ground staff headed by the retiring Eddie Seaward has been working for two years for the one-two gardening punch. The courts of the club will get hard use as 172 players descend for the Games event.
Neil Stubley, who will replace Seaward, is confident of coming good in time for the start of the Games. The perennial ryegrass seed which became the standard a decade ago is noted for durability. "It's very strong, it's very adaptable, and it's got good recovery rates," he said. "We've been quite fortunate that the development of the grass has actually mirrored the style of play now so we've kind of counter-balanced that wear issue really."